Thursday, 9 October 2014

Lemon - Pie Cookies

These mini lemon pies are amazing. They are an artistic assembly of lemon wafers, topped with swirls of meringue with lemon curd centres. The combination is incredibly fresh.

The lemon cookies could be made a day ahead. They are filled with lemon aroma and flavour and have soft texture. The recipe is for at least 36 - 40 lemon wafers. The recipes for lemon curd and white meringue are for 12 lemon pies. The rest of the lemon wafers could be used as a great breakfast addition to hot chocolate, garnish to ice creams, bases for other confections, or enjoyed on their own.

for the lemon wafers:
(5.5 - 6 cm large)

250 g butter at room temperature
180 g sugar
12 g freshly grated lemon zest

60 g egg (or one extra large egg)
30 g milk
15 g freshly squeezed lemon juice

370 g flour
1/2 g baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

In a bowl, scale the dry ingredients - the flour, salt and soda. 

In a stainless steal bowl, with a paddle attachment, cream the butter slightly. Add the sugar and the zest and cream just until smooth. Add the egg. Cream to combine, followed by the milk and the lemon juice. Beat after each addition but without over beating - do not beat to light cream. 

Add the dry ingredients, processing at the lowest speed of the mixer just to combine. 

Prepare a piping bag with a plane tip. I used 8 mm round tip. Spoon the batter onto the piping bag and pipe mounds on a lined with silicon or parchment paper baking sheet. Space the mounds about 5-6 cm away from each other. Use an acetate small sheet to flatten each mound, pressing the sheet onto each one. I used an acetate square, cut from a commercial packaging, because it leaves the surface of the cookies nicely even and by pressing down, I ended up with nice uniformed rounds. 

Bake at 190°C until just the edges start to golden. It is good to keep the natural lemon yellow colour of the cookies without making them golden. Transfer on a wire rack to cool completely. 

for the lemon curd:

1 whole egg - extra large
1 egg yolk (from 1 extra large egg)
60 g sugar
50 ml lemon juice - freshly squeezed
65 g butter

In a bowl, beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar until light and pale. Transfer the mixture in a heavy bottomed pan over a bain marie and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 min. After the first 2-3 min, the mixture will start to thicken, so keep stirring to avoid forming lumps. Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter. Stir until it melt, transfer in a clean porcelain cup and cover tightly with warping foil (the foil should touch the surface of the curd) and leave to cool. 

Once cooled, pipe the curd in a piping bag with a round tip.

For the swirls, I decided to make meringue, Italian way. I wanted to keep the gentle white and lemon yellow colours in harmony, without caramelizing the meringue for the finished pies. That is why I cooked the sugar and added it hot to the whites.

for the meringue:

42 g egg white (or egg white from 1 extra large egg)
70 g sugar
20 g water

Bring the water and sugar to boil. While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites, until soft peaks are formed. Cook the syrup for 2-3 min until the sugar dissolves. Add slowly to the egg whites, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the meringue reaches room temperature.

Spoon the meting into a piping bag with a star tip.


Arrange all 12 cookies upside down. Have the piping bags with the lemon curd and with the meringue ready. Pipe swirls of meringue following the edge of the cookies. Leave the centre open. Pipe lemon curd mounds in the centre.

You could play with the design here - piping thinner meringue swirls and having bigger lemon curd centres, or piping rings of lemon curd around the edge of the cookies and filling the centre with small rosettes of meringue. It is up to your imagination and mood at the time.

I, honestly, was thinking of piping lemon curd layer, topping with big mound of meringue, but at the time I got into tailoring the pies, I was happier to design them in a daisy style. I am very satisfied with the result and because the heavy sweetness of meringue does not overpower the whole desert, but just add a gentle touch to the acidity of the lemon curd.

Enjoy them the way you like and have a sweet day!

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